26 August 2019

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: Communication is Key

Communication is key to any relationship, be it spouses, co-workers, employers, friends, family…Good communication makes a relationship survive and thrive.

            I know that “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus.”  That’s a communication challenge on any given day.  No one told me that children are from a galaxy far, far away. Thing 4 drove this lesson home. You’d think with 3 others I would have known better, but…

            Thing 4, at 4 years old, started pre-k. He was a good boy most of the time at home and at school, but a few months into the school year he became a problem. He became angry and belligerent, at home and at school. We, me and teachers alike, were completely confused at his change in attitude.

            It took some significant sleuthing to finally determine the problem.

            Thing 4’s father decided to go back to flying for a living. Commercial pilot. This was a complete and total change for the boys and their normal routines, and I became a “married, single mother.”

            To keep the boys informed of where there father was I built a special shelf and hung it in the kitchen. There was a lip underneath and I hid a window shade behind it to which I attached a U.S. map and a world map.  There were plenty of post-it arrow-stickers on the side and we labeled them with each FBO (flight base operator) their father was flying into and out of. I even had home marked on the map.
            All was well and good until their father had to go to Miami for training on a Lear-something (I keep up with different planes like I do cars, not at all.)  Thing 4 became a –very- angry little boy.  His teacher and I –both- had problems with his behavior.

            He finally got sent to the school counselor.  WHAT a -RELIEF-! 

            Thing 4 was angry because his father was in Miami for a few weeks of training on a plane.  I showed him and his brothers every night where we where, and where Miami was.  He deduced, being 4 years old and not capable yet of comprehending geography or time, that there was a place called “Ami,” it was “mine” and I sent his father there indefinitely.

            Problem understood, but not solved. That took a couple years of growing up to rectify, but he finally –got- it!

            Thing 4 is now married with a daughter and another one on the way, and this is me, laughing, because he finally left his own little galaxy and is learning how to live in mine. “Adulting SUX!”   

- Bess Tuggle